Happy Hour: Real Housewives & Pinot Grigio Cocktails

by Diana Vilibert

The other day, when I saw I had a new question in my Tumblr Ask box, I was hesitant to click on it. See, my Tumblr Ask box occasionally seems to function as the blog equivalent of an anonymous complaint box, and I didn’t want to sully my good day by reading about my general incompetence, or — my favorite anonymous blog insult to date — the fact that I’m a “chubby failed writer living in Brooklyn, just like everyone else.” Dibs on the movie rights for that one, by the way. Zach Braff is gaining weight to play me.

Anyway, I clicked on it because I’m a masochist, and to my delight, it was pinot grigio! Well, not pinot grigio itself, but a question about it, from someone who asks:

My roommate and I are throwing a Real Housewives party next week, and we’d like to serve a cocktail that involves lots of pinot grigio. Thoughts?

First off, we’re all invited, right? I’ve been saving my bronzer and diamonds for this. And, are you planning your party according to the Real Housewives Party Rules? I don’t know about you, but I’ve watched enough episodes of the various RH shows that I now know how to really plan a party. For example …

1. If your party doesn’t feature a fortune teller, clairvoyant, or camel, it is not a Real Housewives party.

2. Lifelong/episode-long enemies must be seated next to each other.

3. Invite someone you hate. Why not?

And finally, let me actually answer your question. Get ready to make your best Vicki WooWoo! impression, because pinot grigio happens to be a great cocktail wine, thanks to acidity that lends itself particularly well to mixing up with other tasty ingredients. Which is good, because now I’m super down about Vicki. Poor Vicki!

Best of all? It’s easy to get a great drink from a cheap bottle of pinot grigio. Take Ecco Domani, for example, which is about $8 a bottle:

5 red seedless grapes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce lychee juice (or pineapple juice if you’re insane and don’t like lychee)
2.5 ounces Ecco Domani pinot grigio
Lemon juice

Directions: Muddle 5 grapes with 1 teaspoon sugar, add lychee juice, pinot grigio, and a splash of lemon juice. Pour into a shaker filled with ice, shake, and pour into a glass. Garnish with grapes.

Or look for a pinot grigio with strong vanilla notes, like the $11-$12 bottle from Tutu Vineyards, which will play well with brandy.

2 ounces pinot grigio
 .75 ounces brandy
 .25 ounces triple sec
 .5 ounces creme de cassis
Club soda

Directions: Pour wine, brandy, triple sec, and creme de cassis into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a glass, top with club soda.

And why not do a classic sangria? Barefoot Bubbly’s tart green apple and peach flavors (not to mention the $5 price tag) make for a great choice.

1 bottle pinot grigio
1/2 cup peach schnapps
1/4–1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like your sangria)
2 sliced peaches
1 sliced orange
1/2 mango peeled and sliced
1/2 liter ginger ale

Directions: Pour wine and schnapps into a pitcher, and add fruit (you can use the recipe above or just add your favorite fruit/whatever you have on hand. Except tomatoes. I know it’s technically a fruit, but no). Stir in sugar and put in the fridge. Add ginger ale right before serving.

Previously: So You Have a Citrus Allergy.

Diana Vilibert’s favorite Housewife is Alex McCord.

Image courtesy Ecco Domani.